Sunday, September 28, 2003

*ahem* Attention, please!
I am pleased to announce that with the inception of the blog currently known as Elaienar's Blog I have entered the worthy ranks of parents-of-bloggers.

I would also like to point out two new blogs by fellow Middle Earth dwellers, The Road Goes Ever On And On, and her sister Shieldmaiden. I have also recently learned that my daughter's Japanese penpal Miwaza, has a blog. It is a pleasure witnessing this influx of young, reformed, homeschooling bloggers. I tell ya, this is a great world!
Illuminated Manuscripts
Back on May the 2nd I mentioned that I'd like to try my hand at illuminating Bible verses. Well this afternoon, my eldest and I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a couple of calligraphy pens, several colors of ink, and two hardback sketchbooks with acid free paper, so we could get started. After we got home, I did Psalm 1, and I'm planning on doing all the Psalms as I have time. I'd post a picture of it if I had a way of getting photos online. While I certainly hope to improve with practice, I think it's not too shabby for a first effort.

Valerie, you should just do it! I spent about an hour playing around with the pens and trying out lettering styles and practicing flourishes, then later when I had another hour, I did the whole Psalm - it was so soothing. If I can find time to do it, you can, too!

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Questions for Toni
1. Your "about me" page says that you enjoy studying foreign languages. Which have you studied, which is your favorite, and do you speak any of them well enough to pass for a native?
2. If you could lead a class teaching homemaking skills to girls, what would you be most likely to teach?
3. Is there any place in the world you haven't been that you would love to go to? Tell me all about it.
4. Your favorite food list includes almost everything on the planet! Is there anything that you would never ever eat (unless maybe your life depended on it)?
5. What does poetry mean to you?

Questions for Samantha
1. How did you become a Christian?
2. You have links to Classical Christian Homeschooling and Trivium Pursuit on your blog. Are you implementing anything you've learned from them? What does the classical model look like in your homeschool?
3. What motivated you to begin doing illuminated manuscripts, and how much progress have you made?
4. It's a Thursday, and it's too lovely a day to stay cooped up indoors, so you cancel school, gather up the kiddos and go.... where?
5. When choosing names for your children, how do you decide what is a good name? Do you have any special stories about your children's names, or names you have picked out for any children you may be blessed with in the future?

*Be sure you post the following info on your blog when you post the answers:
If you would like to participate too, here are your instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as you see here).
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Gideon's blog has been down almost week.
Interview questions for Carmon

1. What favorite books from your childhood have you shared with your own children?
2. It's Sunday and you've just come home from the perfect church service. Describe it.
3. Your husband has announced that it is high time the two of you went on a second honeymoon and the sky's the limit. Where do you go?
4. Which and why?
Austen or Shakespeare?
Spring or Fall?
Heidelberg or Westminster?
Chocolate or cheesecake?
Jeeves or Bunter?
5. Your children are all grown up and married. Describe a typical day.

*Be sure you post the following info on your blog when you post the answers:
If you would like to participate too, here are your instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as you see here).
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


(P.S. Mike was just reading your blog, and he said, "Well, Kelly, if I didn't know better I'd say this was you!" :-D )

Thursday, September 25, 2003

A hearty "AMEN!" to Carmon who says so clearly what's been knocking around inside my head for awhile.

On related note, the Texas law is set up so that it's practically impossible for a third-party candidate to get on the ticket. I've contacted the Texas Constitution Party to find out if anything is being done about getting the signatures necessary to get CP candidates on the ballot, and was told that nothing is being organized right now. So frustrating.
Interview questions from Barb

1. Who was your favorite neighbor as a child and why?

My best friend, Nancy, who lived across the street from me. Nancy was three months older than I and we were friends from the very beginning. My mom has pictures of the two of us doing everything together from the time we shared a play-pen until they moved away when I was in kindergarten. Behind Nan's house was steep bank covered with large, sharp stones, and one day as we were carrying the stones that had slid down the bank back to the top, Nan dropped hers and it tumbled down the slope and smashed into my fingers as I was picking up a stone. It hit me so hard that it knocked one of my fingernails off! Poor Nan was so upset she ran screaming into the house. Her older sister, Karen, wrapped my finger in a towel and walked me home. After I got home from my trip to the emergency room, Nan sent over a little china tea set that she had begged her mother to buy for me – she was afraid I would never play with her again! But of course I would because Nan always let me have my own way. She was the youngest of five and I was the firstborn, so naturally, even though she was older than I, I got to boss her around. :-p

2. Are there any stories, traditions, or objects that have been handed down through generations of your family?

About all I know of my Daddy's side of the family is that the first of them to come to America were apparantly a disreputable lot. They found out the authorities were planning to put them on a boat to Australia, so they came to America to escape! I guess that was the Price side of the family – the Pyle men were mostly ministers. One Price ancestor even married a Choctaw woman, LIttle Fawn Beside the Stream, at a time when to do so was incredibly scandalous. She lived to be 103 years old and smoked a corncob pipe! We went to my grandmother Pyle, nee Price, for Thanksgiving every year. She always made macaroni and cheese because it my brother's and my favorite dish. My Daddy taught me how to make cornbread dressing just like grandmother's and I still make that dressing and macaroni and cheese for Thanksgiving every year. I have several quilts made by my grandmother – I have slept under her quilts all my life. I also have her mother's potato masher that I use quite often.

My mother's grandfather McConnell was the youngest of eight children, and his mother died not too long after he was born. His oldest sister had just had a baby, so she took in her baby brother and nursed him. Their father, Robert Houston McConnell, was named after Sam Houston, who was a family friend. I have seen the McConnell family genealogy – it has been traced back to a James McConnell, who was born in 1715 in Ulster Ireland, and emigrated to Pennsylvania no later than 1745. On her mother's side of the family, the first Davis in America was a 13-year-old stowaway named Jonathan, who ran away from home to escape a cruel stepfather. He fought during America's War for Independence and was at Valley Forge. After the war, he settled in Pennsylvania, but his son moved to South Carolina. His grandson moved to Georgia near the GA/AL border at about the same time that the Cumbies from South Carolina (Mike's family) were moving to Alabama. After the War Between the States, many people in that area moved to Arkansas, including several Cumbies – the ones who stayed in Alabama changed their name spelling to Cumbee. When my great-grandfather Davis asked my great-great-grandfather Foster for his daughter's hand, he was told "Yes, as long as you don't move to Arkansas." They married, and shortly after that, they moved to Arkansas in a covered wagon. They never saw their families again. :-( Once when I was about 17 years old my mom asked me if there was anyone I was interested in, and I told her I didn't know anyone worth marrying besides my cousins. After Mike and I were engaged, we found out that we are distant cousins! After he retires, we hope to move back to that part of Alabama where both of our families come from and put down some roots!

3. If you could change one thing about our federal government, what would you change and why?

I suppose you mean the structure of the government or how it functions, and not the people in the governnemt, or else I'd just wave a magic wand and make them all think like me. ;-) Trying to think of just one thing that will make any real difference almost has me daunted. First, I thought about repealing the 14th amendment, which would essentially reinstate the 10th, but the Constutition is mostly ignored anyway, so that wouldn't do much good. Then I thought about de-federalizing the military, so that when the President wants to send troops anywhere, he not only has to ask Congress to declare war, but he would also have to ask the state governors to send their troops. I think this would keep us out of all these overseas imbroglios, but it would still leave the leviathan bureaucracy in place. Something that might be more effective, and I have to credit Pieter with this idea, is to abolish all direct taxes – income tax, inheritance taxes, Social Security et al. This would force the federal government to stay within Constitutional bounds.

4. Which one and why?

Beatrix Potter or A.A. Milne?
Beatrix Potter! I love her paintings, but especially her stories – the wry sense of humor ("This is a fierce bad Rabbit; look at his savage whiskers and his claws and his turned-up tail."), and understatement ("...don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your father had an accident there; he was put into a pie by Mrs. McGregor."). My favorite scene is where Old Mr. Benjamin Bunny is looking for little Benjamin Bunny and his orphaned nephew Peter Rabbit, who have been trapped under a basket all afternoon after stealing vegetables from Mr. McGregor's garden.
At length there was a pitter-patter, pitter-patter, and some bits of mortar fell from the wall above.

The cat looked up and saw old Mr. Benjamin Bunny prancing along the top of the wall of the upper terrace.

He was smoking a pipe of rabbit-tobacco, and had a little switch in his hand.

He was looking for his son.

Old Mr. Bunny had no opinion whatever of cats. He took a tremendous jump off the top of the wall on to the top of the cat, and cuffed it off the basket, and kicked it into the greenhouse, scratching off a handful of fur.

The cat was too much surprised to scratch back.

When old Mr. Bunny had driven the cat into the greenhouse, he locked the door.

Then he came back to the basket and took out his son Benjamin by the ears, and whipped him with the little switch.

Then he took out his nephew Peter. [The illustration shows Peter getting a whipping, too.]

Then he took out the handkerchief of onions, and marched out of the garden.

Breakfast or dinner?
I tell you what, if I had roomservice I'd pick breakfast every time. I love breakfast food – scrambled eggs, cheese grits and sausage, biscuits and gravy, sliced fresh tomatoes, hashbrowns.... Alas, these days we ususally have cold cereal, except for Sundays when I try to have something especially nice like blueberry muffins, or peach cobbler. So, in the real world I will choose not our everyday suppers – they are usually fairly plain – but our Sabbath dinner – special prayers and blessings, all the best dishes on the table and sometimes candles, sweet bread, wine, good food, and hymns.

Jackson or Lee?
Since I know so much more about Lee, I will have to pick him. The two were totally different in very complementary ways, but were very similar in the essentials, as far as I can tell. Last year I read Steve Wilkin's biography of Lee, Call of Duty. It was so good that I think every Christian man ought to read it.

Mountains or beach?
That is soooo tough! I prefer living in the mountains to anyplace else on earth (I am an Arkansas hillbilly, after all, of Scottish and Welsh descent), but the ocean is so therapeutic. Lying on the beach with the wind caressing you and the sun pressing down on you, the sound of the waves and the seagulls and little children playing, are all like a giant soul massage. Right now I'm feeling like a massage.

Chopin or Mozart?
I love listening to them both, but I can actually play a few things Mozart composed, so I'll pick him.

5. How has your parenting style changed over the years?

I couldn't think of a single bloomin thing so I asked Mike (is that cheating?). I've gotten better at noticing and nurturing the differences between the boys and the girls, so that a large part of my teaching them points them to becoming godly men/husbands/fathers and godly women/wives/mothers. I hope I have also gotten better at recognizing the difference between childishness and sin.


If you would like to participate too, here are your instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as you see here).
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Recent search engine hits
Most of the search engine hits I get are about things I've blogged on recently, though not necessarily in the same post, like egyptian exhibit ft worth texas, seratonin +depletion, cod liver oil wal mart, Latin conjugation of gaudy, "sir gawain" "modern translation" and "REC Book of Common Prayer."

Some are so funny. Two recent ones were ask Jeeves about repotting aloe veras, and ask Jeeves- no to reinstating military draft. Maybe I should include info for future confused visitors about how to ask Jeeves a question. ;-)

Some are the names of bloggers: Jenny Carmon, Valerie blog, and

My favorite one lately, though, was this one: +"Doug Wilson" +blog. I wonder if the searcher read his comment about blogs in the latest issue of C/A and was checking to see if Mr. Wilson's practice is consistent with his, um, criticism. That particular search turns up a lot of familiar names. The Reformed community must be awfully small.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

One thing for which I am truly thankful
My mother is an incredibly gifted musician - at the age of three she was able to play on the piano the melody of any song she heard; by the age of eleven, she was the church organist; she has an incredible memory and can play almost anything she's ever heard before. She has taught piano for most of her life. I believe she told me she had her first student when she was 13 years old! Mom teaches music in an elementary school in Arkansas, and her students love learning from her.

When I was growing up, Mom would often play the piano for us after we went to bed. My brother usually asked for the Carpenters, and we both loved Scott Joplin, but my favorite was Chopin's waltzes, especially the Valse in A Flat Major. She really can play anything and she taught us by her example to enjoy all kinds of music.

I wanted to be able to play like my mom and I tried to pick out tunes, but I never could find the right notes, so instead of playing actual melodies I spent a lot of time banging away at the piano, pretending that I was a great musician in front of awestruck crowds. My mother must have been a very tolerant person to have put up with that cacophany - I don't handle that kind of noise nearly as well from my children as my mother did from me.

At last, when I was about seven or eight years old, my mother, bless her heart, tried to teach me how to play the piano. It was not a success, mainly owing to my jealousy and obstinacy - I figured since I wasn't born with The Gift, as she had been, there was no point in my practicing. Well, she sent me to Mrs. Jones, from whom I took lessons for two difficult years. That woman expected me to play in recitals, and I was terrified of playing in front of strangers. One recital, I was so nervous that I thought I was dying and I didn't really mind that, I just hoped it would happen before my turn came!

But then, when I was in ninth grade and regretted that I had not learned better, my mom encouraged me to take lessons again, and recommended Mrs. McGrew, a lady in our church. I took from her for three years, and in spite of practicing nearly every day, I never got very good, but today I can play well enough to accompany the family when we sing hymns, and for that I am truly thankful.
We've come a long way, baby
Last year while we were studying modern history I began reading the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers but I had to put them aside. I hope that by the time I've finished homeschooling my children I will have acheived the intellectual capacity necessary to read and understand these newspaper articles written for 18th century farmers and laborers.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Twenty-five years ago tonight
I found out that after years of waiting (no, I'm not telling how many years!) I had finally had a sister!

My sister is the most loving, caring, and giving person I know. When I'm visiting her, she takes me to her beauty shop, sets me in a chair, and says, "Now just relax! There are no kids here and I want you to relax and let me take care of you." Then she does my hair, face, nails... Oh, it's almost heaven!

Happy Birthday, Anne Marie!

I love you.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

I did a Carmon
Not on as grand a scale, I grant you, but then I'm only a novice. :-)

Bride of Fortune, Harnett T. Kane (the life of Mrs. Jefferson Davis)
The Five Red Herrings, Dorothy L. Sayers
Favorite Poems Old and New, selected by Helen Ferris
Smoke on the Mountain: An Interpretation of the Ten Commandments, Joy Davidmon
The Greek Way to Western Civilization, Edith Hamilton
Favorite Dog Stories, James Herriot
The Portable Mark Twain: A delightful assembly of his favorite and most representative writings selected and introduced by Bernard DeVoto
Men and Ideas in the Sixteenth Century, Hans J. Hillerbrand
A Wonder Book, Nathaniel Hawthorne
O Ye Jigs & Juleps! A humorous slice of Americana by a turn-of-the-century pixie, aged ten, Virginia Cary Hudson
Lady in Waiting, Rosemary Sutcliff (the story of Sir Walter Raleigh and his wife Bess Throckmorton, who was a Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth. I never even knew he was married!)
Woodchuck, Faith McNulty
Selected Essays contains essays by W.M. Thackeray, R.L. Stevenson, and Matthew Arnold, among others
Our Reading Heritage: England and the World, a high school literature textbook published in 1956 - it looks better than my college lit book!
The Black Stallion, William Farley
Five Children and It, E. Nesbit

A whole slew of Landmark books:
Daniel Boone
Davey Crockett
Robert E. Lee
John Paul Jones
Dolly Madison
The Monitor and The Merrimac and Other Naval Battles
Sam Houston
The Barberry Pirates
Chief of the Cossacks
Ghengis Khan and the Mongol Horde
The Vikings

I also got a few birthday books, so I'd better not list them. :-)

Friday, September 12, 2003

It's almost fall!
The sun is shining, it's 72° and breezy, the little ones are playing in the back yard, and I'm dreaming about the yard work I want to get done this fall.

We're planning to build a privacy fence, a three-seciton compost bin, a tool shed with a potting porch on it, and put up a decent clothes line. It's ambitious, I know, but this weather makes me feel like I can accomplish anything! I also have two pieces of furniture I need to refinish, and I've been waiting for cooler weather so I can do it on the carport and not broil in the heat.

Of the dozen blueberry bushes we planted this spring, it appears that all but two have died. I guess we didn't water them enough - they are all brown and shriveled. The blueberry bed is in the front yard and we also planted roses, confederate jasmine, blue salvia, lamb's ears, sage, French lavender, lemon verbena, and a clematis there. These other plants are all doing well, except for the clematis, which never came up. I've never planted one before, so I don't know what I did wrong. Next spring I'm going to add some more herbs to the bed: chamomile, lavender officianalis, and oregano. Maybe parsley, too.

The vegetable garden is in the back yard and is still going strong. Our tomatoes are still producing prolificly, we have plenty of peppers, and we even have a volunteer watermelon coming up beside the compost! It has one fruit on it, about 8" long and 3" across. I hope it has time to ripen before it gets cold here in November or December. I've never grown watermelon before, so I don't know how long they take. The squash plants have all shriveled up and died. I guess they couldn't take the 103° weather we had last month!

The kids have gotten out the water hose and are flooding the patio, so I'd better scoot!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Especially for Shimmer
My husband's parents always give me money for my birthday and I always buy music with it. For my last birthday, I bought Faire is the Heaven: Music of the English Church, by the Cambridge Singers. This beautiful music is sung a cappella by a boys choir (with a few men for the tenor and bass parts) in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral which was built from 1321 to about 1350. It sounds wonderful! The only other thing I have that comes close to that sound is Bach's St. Matthew Passion, and the version I have uses women's voices for the soprano solos.

There's a good variety of music on this CD. The songs are arranged in chronological order from the 14th century to the 20th. They are mostly Psalms and prayers, and there is one Dutch Easter carol!

Saturday, September 6, 2003

Another pet peeve
Using the word "gentleman" to refer to any old Tom, Dick, or Harry.

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

The communion of the saints
It is such a blessing to meet people for the first time and to feel so close to them right away, like they are close friends or family members you haven't seen in a long time.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a young woman in Oklahoma, who happened across my blog and noticed that we live in the same town where her father lives. Since he does not go to church, she asked me if she could come with us the next time she visited her dad, so of course I said, "Yes."

This Sunday morning, Kelly and three of her friends (Kelly M, Lisa, and Robert, brother of Kelly M) came to the base chapel with us. We all ate lunch at the fellowship hall after the service, then they came home with us and we spent the rest of the afternoon talking and getting to know each other, and what a delight it was!

As a bonus, I learned that Robert is a fellow blogger.